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Time Saving Tips for service business

10 Tips That Will Save Time, Increase Profits, and Make You a Happier Handyman

Any business owner knows that time is a valuable resource, especially when you are doing everything yourself.  Even if you charge a high rate for your billable hours, time spent on the back end of the business can make it tough to get compensated well for your time.  That is why I am always looking for ways to be more efficient with my handyman business.  Here are 10 things you can implement today that will save time, increase profits, and make running a handyman business more enjoyable.

Time = life; therefore, waste your time and waste of your life, or master your time and master your life.
Alan Lakein

#1 Don’t Waste Your Time On Low Profit Jobs

This is one of the biggest times savers which is why I have listed it first.  It sounds counter-intuitive to turn down customers, but if you want to save your time for things you enjoy or customers that you actually profit from, drop the duds.

If your finding that it’s difficult to charge enough for a healthy profit on a certain type of work, don’t offer that service anymore.  It’s that simple.  If you continue to offer that service, you’re only wasting your time.

It does take a bit of experience to master this concept and turning down customers as a new handyman business is really tough.  I struggled with it on a weekly basis when I first started out.  But, as I slowly figured out which jobs pay and which ones waste my time, I’ve found myself much happier overall.

#2 Have Separate Tool Buckets for Certain Jobs

As your handyman business grows, you’ll find yourself doing certain jobs fairly consistently.  For example, drywall repair is a service I do often.

In order to save time thinking about which tools I need for jobs like this, I just designate a bucket for that jobs and have tools and supplies in that bucket that never leave.  I’ve even gone as far as writing the inventory of that bucket with a sharpie on the side so I can do a quick checklist every once in a while.

This way, if I need to do a drywall repair, I grab the designated bucket and have all the tools I need right away.  Simple and effective.

#3  Get a Blue-Tooth Headset

No, I don’t wear my Blue-Tooth all day long to look like I’m important.  I usually only wear it while I’m in my car.  Instead of waiting until I get home to follow up with customers, I try to make all my phone calls while driving.

This saves me from having to call customers when I get home.  2 birds, one stone.

#4  Batch Trips to the Home Improvement Store

In this business you will be making a LOT of trips to Home Depot, Lowe’s, and other stores alike.  As you get more busy and schedule customers 1 or 2 weeks out, you should start to batch your trips to the store.

By spending some extra time to make a list and plan your trip the the store, you’ll end up saving hours each week because you’ll have what you need.

Of course there will always be unforeseen things that come up and you’ll have to go anyway, but at least you won’t be going every day.

#5  Charge by the hour instead of by the job

This one is for the new handyman business owner.  Unless you know exactly how long a job takes and can quote it in less than 5 minutes, you’re probably better off charging an hourly rate.

Not only will you save the time and headache of quoting each job and worrying about whether or not you are competitive, you can simply say “I charge $X/hour plus materials.  I estimate it will take about Y hours and $Z dollars in materials costs.  However, this is only an estimate and could vary.”

Some customers won’t like this and will ask for a firm quote.  If you need the work, go ahead and quote it.  You’ll need the practice for the future, anyway.

Eventually you will get to the point where you know how long something will take and you can quote it quickly without risking profits or customers.  For now, just save the time and frustration and charge hourly.

#6  Batch Your Accounting

If you do your own accounting, you can save a ton of time by only doing accounting once a month.  Schedule a few hours once a month and do all of your accounting for that month in one sitting.

By batching this process, you will eliminate time spent thinking about accounting.  Simply put your receipts in a folder, bin, or wherever you choose and deal with them later.

I also recommend only going to the bank either once a week or every two weeks to make deposits.  Taking a trip to the bank after each customer pays you will waste a lot of your time.

#7  Shop For Supplies At the End of the Day

I stumbled upon this little secret by accident a few weeks ago.  I typically do my supply shopping right before I go to my customer’s house in the morning and the store is always busy.  I decided to shop the night before a job one night and there was almost no one in the store.

In the middle of the day the home improvement stores are busy.  If you can wait until 5 pm or later, however, you will practically have the store to yourself.  This means no lines, an empty parking lot, and a better shopping experience.

Also, if the store is on the way home, you can avoid traffic hour by spending it at the store actually getting something done.

Your welcome.

#8  Put Your Website To Work

If you’ve set up your handyman business based on what I recommend, your website is already generating leads for you 24 hours a day and even while you sleep.

It’s time to take it a step further and allow customers to submit quote requests online.  This is pretty easy to set up and can be done in a few minutes.  You simply add a form to your website.  When a customer fills it out, you get an e-mail with their quote request.  Now you can get back to them at your convenience.

This is great because it reduces phone calls in the middle of the day while your on a job and puts you in contact with people that are too passive to pick up the phone a call.

#9  Automate Your Follow Up Process

Following up with customers after work is performed is good practice, but it takes times and energy.  Why not put this task on auto-pilot?

Here are the simple instructions.

  1. Sign up for an Aweber Account.
  2. Go through the easy setup guide that comes with your Aweber account.
  3. Write a generic e-mail follow-up e-mail that can be sent to any customer for any job.
  4. Each week, add the customer’s that you worked for to the e-mail list and voila, you’ve just followed up with all of your customers!
Aweber is also a great way to stay in touch and promote your services in the future.

#10  Keep Track of Your Time and Eliminate Tasks Where Possible

The title pretty much says it all.  Simply keep a journal of your time for a month or so and then go back and evaluate  what you spent your time on.  What you find may surprise you.  Being aware of how your spend your time can help you make better decisions in the future.

Now, figure out which activities brought you toward you goals, were fulfilling, or where absolutely necessary.  Eliminate the rest and watch the free time stack up.

#11  READ THIS BLOG

Why spend your time figuring everything out for yourself when I’ve already done it?  I spend a lot of time putting this information together and I only write content that I believe is worth reading.

It’s all no BS and from my own experience.  I live this stuff.  And if you have any questions or comments, I’m always interested in helping how I can.

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  • Marco May 12, 2013

    Big D,
    Man…You’re website is amazing! Thank you for all the helpful tips. I will be starting a handyman business in the Fall (2013) and am looking for different ways to market. I understand the value of “word of mouth”, vehicle marketing, and with experience in graphic/design I also understand the important of Web presence. With this said, what is the BEST way to get STARTED marketing a handyman business and gathering clientele? Do I personal contact by hand out flyers door-to-door in my down time? Any advice is valued.

    Marco

    • Big D May 12, 2013

      Hi Marco,

      Thanks! The best way to get started as far as marketing goes?

      The very first thing you should do is tell everybody what you are doing. Tell your friends, tell your family, and tell your old co-workers etc. They may not need a handyman personally, but if somebody they know does they are likely to call you.

      If you need business today craigslist will work, but you’re going to have to deal with some less than ideal clients. Never tried door to door flyers, but have talked to several people who have been successful with this method. However, this all depends on how it’s executed.

      Me, personally – I would focus all of my efforts building a website and my brand. It will take a while to work, but if done properly it will bring you consistent new business.

      There’s a good place to start.

      Big D

  • Marco May 14, 2013

    Thanks Big D! Working on website now. Think I’m going to give Craigslist a shot as well. Grateful for your help.

    Kindest Regards,

    Marco

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